Thursday, June 4, 2015

Citrix NetScaler and Cisco ACI: How it all Works

It’s an exciting week ahead at Cisco Live in San Diego.

Citrix is pleased to be a key Cisco ACI ecosystem partner through the integration of the Citrix NetScaler ADC with the Cisco APIC controller.

There are several interesting technologies being leveraged to deliver this joint solution and I thought would be interesting to take a look at how it is implemented. Cisco APIC addresses the two main requirements for achieving the application centric data center vision:

Policy-based automation framework

•Policy-based service insertion technology

A policy-based automation framework enables the APIC to dynamically provision and configure resources according to application requirements.

As a result, core services such as firewalls and Layer 4 through 7 switches can be consumed by applications and made ready to use in a single automated step.

Being application-centric, the APIC allows the creation of application profiles, which define the Layer 4 through 7 services consumed by a given data center tenant application. As a key ADC partner in the ACI ecosystem, Citrix NetScaler provides L4-L7 services such as load balancing, application acceleration, and application security.

Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler ADC Solution

Figure 1. Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler ADC Solution

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Citrix and Cisco Deliver Application Agility and a Path to Software Defined Networks

Applications are the core of any business. To respond quickly to changing business requirements, IT organizations must be able to deploy applications rapidly across a broad range of physical and virtual infrastructure while ensuring performance, scalability, security and visibility.

But applications are only as agile as the infrastructures on which they run.
With traditional datacenter infrastructure, it can take weeks to make an application change. Cloud, mobility and virtualization trends further complicate the interplay between applications, network services and the underlying infrastructure. Achieving a truly agile, application-driven datacenter requires a flexible infrastructure that can respond dynamically to application needs, automatically provisioning and configuring the necessary resources independent of their location.

Citrix and Cisco Systems have worked to accelerate the transformation to new network service delivery models that provide greater business agility. They deliver a robust set of capabilities--from product integration and validated designs to new technologies--that provide immediate benefits to customers while streamlining the transition to software-defined networks (SDN) and application-centric infrastructure.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler Automate Services Provisioning and Increase Application Performance

With Cisco Live coming up in San Diego at Citrix we are ramping up to talk about NetScaler and the integration that we have done with Cisco Application Centric Architecture (ACI). The world’s leading enterprises, service providers, cloud computing platforms, and eight of the top ten internet-centric companies, have standardized on Citrix NetScaler to deliver their business-critical web applications. By integrating with Cisco ACI we are bringing the benefits of the top application delivery controller to the leading software defined network architecture and enabling our customers to automate NetScaler deployments.

Challenges with Application Delivery
As businesses look to IT as a point of strategic differentiation, agility in the datacenter becomes more critical than ever. Fundamental to this change is the capability of IT to respond quickly to changing business requirements. Applications serve as the core of any business, but applications are only as agile as the infrastructure on which they run. With yesterday’s datacenter infrastructure, this can mean waiting weeks for an application change. Application agility, mobility, and rapid deployment require the datacenter infrastructure to dynamically respond to application needs as a result of changing business requirements.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Leveraging Multi-tenancy in the ADC as a Way to the Cloud

Over the last few years, organizations have increasingly been shifting their data centers to a cloud-based model. This transition has been built upon virtualization, automation and orchestration of IT resources—mainly server, storage and switching infrastructure. The goal is to increase agility and reduce the costs of deploying and managing resources to support business applications.

As the transition to cloud-based data centers marches on, it is becoming apparent that organizations need to keep going after they virtualize their server, storage and switching infrastructures. To maximize device consolidation and increase flexibility and agility in deploying resources, other components instrumental to the security, performance and availability of the organization’s computing services need to take part in the transformation.

While increasing agility and reducing costs are worthwhile goals, there are additional concerns when it comes to supporting applications. In its report, “Cloud Service Strategies: North American Enterprise Survey, January 15, 2014,” Infonetics Research found that 79 percent of respondents want to improve application performance, 78 percent want to respond more quickly to business needs, 77 percent want to speed up application deployment and increase scalability, and 73 percent expect to reduce costs with cloud services.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Citrix NetScaler VPX on Microsoft Azure Accelerates Your Applications in the Cloud

Cloud computing offers a fundamental change in the way organizations deploy and accesses their business applications.  Cloud computing is about leveraging resources over the network to enable an organization to work more efficiently and with greater agility. Getting the best results from applications in the cloud requires an application delivery controller (ADC) to provide an always-on, always-secure foundation to ensure performance. The ADC solution for the cloud needs to provide the ability to balance workloads and manage user traffic while providing granular visibility into application performance and control for reliable application delivery. To meet these needs Citrix and Microsoft have collaborated to make the Citrix NetScaler ADC available on Microsoft Azure. 

Citrix NetScaler VPX for Microsoft Azure
Citrix NetScaler VPX is a virtual appliance for L4-7 networking services that ensures organizations have access to applications deployed in the cloud that is secure and optimized for high performance. VPX supports widely deployed applications such as Citrix XenApp® and Citrix XenDesktop®, as well as specific workloads including Microsoft Exchange, SQL, and SharePoint.  VPX provides a networking foundation that ensures scalability, adjusting to the changing needs of a cloud environment without the physical limitations. A superior user experience on Microsoft applications and workloads is delivered through performance enhancements such as compressing, load balancing, and SSL acceleration. VPX provides a set of capabilities to ensure availability and to keep applications connected and protected. Advanced security capabilities ensure against attacks that can disable your applications or put your data in danger. VPX allows organizations to securely connect to their environments from anywhere from any device. VPX puts you in control of applications with the visibility required to keep your applications performing.

NetScaler routes traffic in and out of the Azure Virtual Network with two or more subnets within each virtual network. Customers can leverage Network Security Groups to control network traffic by providing a filter for each VM within a subnet. Each virtual network has a single NetScaler VPX deployed across it.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Using Application Delivery Services to Build Scalable OpenStack Clouds

As your organization seeks to increase IT agility and reduce operating costs building an orchestration platform like OpenStack to automate the deployment of resources makes a lot of sense. As you plan the implementation of your OpenStack platform ensuring application availability and performance is a necessary design goal. There are a number of things to consider to this end, for example how do you minimize downtime, or support your legacy applications, as well as your applications that are built for the cloud. You might need to host multiple tenants on your cloud platform, and deliver performance SLAs to them. Larger application deployments might require extending cloud platform services to multiple locations.

To ensure a successful implementation of OpenStack you need design recommendations around best practices for multi-zone and multi-region cloud architectures. There are two major areas to look at. One is resource segregation or ‘pooling’ and the use of cloud platform constructs such as availability zones and host aggregates to group infrastructure into fault domains and high-availability domains. The other is how to use an ADC to provide highly available, highly performant, application delivery and load balancing services in your distributed, multi-tenant, fault-tolerant cloud architecture.

Best Practices for Multi-Zone and Multi-Region Cloud Integration
It’s easier to build resilient and scalable OpenStack data centers if three best-practice rules are applied in planning:
•Segregate physical resources to create fault domains, and plan to mark these as OpenStack Availability Zones.
•Distribute OpenStack and database controllers across three or more adjacent fault domains to create a resilient cluster.
•Networks - Design considerations should include both data plane and control plane networking criteria for scale out and high-availability.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Simplify Integration Of L4 - L7 Services With OpenStack and NetScaler

Many organizations are building private cloud platforms as a way to increase the agility of IT infrastructure and to increase the efficiency of operations to support their business critical applications. Over the past few years we have seen an increasing move towards deploying OpenStack, which is an open source cloud management platform, in production environments.
As organizations use OpenStack to automate the deployment of servers, storage and networking, they are also looking to automate the provisioning of L4 – L7 services. To do this, they need their networking equipment vendors to provide integration of their devices with OpenStack in a way that addresses deployment challenges involved in offering infrastructure-as-a-service. These challenges include scalability, elasticity, performance and flexibility/control over resource allocation.
To enable the automated deployment of application delivery services with OpenStack, Citrix has built NetScaler Control Center as a way to integrate with the LBaaS service in OpenStack. The Citrix LBaaS solution enables IT organizations to guarantee performance and availability service level assurances (SLAs) as well as provide redundancy and seamless elasticity while rapidly deploying line of business applications in OpenSack.

The Challenge with Resource Deployment

OpenStack has come a long way in simplifying the provisioning of computer, storage and networking resources as part of an application deployment workflow. Neutron, which is the networking project for OpenStack, automates the creation and management of L2/L3 networks, as well as the associated L4/L7 network services such as firewalling, load balancing and VPN services. While Neutron has made rapid advancements in enabling a self-service consumption model for networking, there are still operational gaps that need to be addressed for successfully deploying business critical workloads. Some of these gaps include providing for service-aware resource allocation, resource elasticity on demand, monitoring and visibility, fault tolerance and high availability. It is important that cloud providers have complete control over policies that control these operational characteristics, even in fully automated environments.